The Bugler

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The PyeongChang Olympics

U.S. bobsled racers, including past Olympians Maj. Chris Fogt and Sgt. Justin Olsen, compete in the World Cup at Park City, Utah, November 2017. Public domain.

The U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program continues to shine with six soldiers representing the USA in the 2018 Winter Olympics starting on February 9th in PyeongChang, South Korea. Bobsledding and luge are two of my favorite events, because they are fast and fun. According to Army News, "2010 Olympic Gold Medalist Sgt. Justin Olsen from San Antonio, Texas; 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist Cpt. Chris Fogt from Alpine, Utah; and 2010 and 2014 Olympic team member Sgt. Nick Cunningham from Monterey, California will make up the bobsled team. The fourth team member is Sgt. First Class Nathan Weber from Huntington Station, New York."

Three other WCAP soldier-athletes compete in luge: Sgt. Emily Sweeney from Suffield, Connecticut, and Sgt. Taylor Morris from South Jordan, Utah, will complete in singles luge, along with Sgt. Matthew Mortensen from Huntington Station, New York, who is competing in the doubles luge event.

Technology and the Olympics

PyeongChang is about 100 miles southeast of Seoul and its name is easily confused with the name of the capital of North Korea, Pyongyang. They are only 183 miles apart but they are thousands of miles apart in ideas and technology. In a great example of a country and its companies working together, many South Korean manufacturing giants have made major contributions to these games. The Guardian states that there will be some great new technologies in use at the Olympics, including the introduction of a 5G mobile network at some venues. This will be the first Olympics that is livestreamed. South Korean tech firm Samsung has developed specially designed suits that will be worn by speed skaters to feedback live body positions that the coach can then use to coach an athlete through a wrist band. "The suits will only be used in training; in race would be digital doping." Another is a special helmet for downhill skiers, which - who knows - may lead to better football helmets or better head protection for our military or first responders, called MIP helmets. The travel from Seoul to PyeongChang can be reduced from 3 hours by road to 69 minutes thanks to the bullet train completed by Hyundai. THEN one of my favorites, looks like something from Star Wars, are special airbag suits (Dainese D-Air ski Suit) that most of the downhill competitors will be wearing. Sensors can tell when you are about to crash and promptly inflate to help avoid injuries.

Support the USA and athletes from around the world. The Paralympics begins on March 8th.

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